Refugees account nearly 29 per cent of all diagnosed active tuberculosis (TB) cases in New Hampshire during 2014 and 2015, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) revealed in its latest report.
As per the CDC report, 3 cases of contagious TB or active TB were diagnosed in New Hampshire refugees in 2015, and 4 cases were diagnosed during the previous year. During those two years, a total of 24 cases of active TB were diagnosed in the state.
In other words, 7 of the 24 active cases (29 per cent) were diagnosed among the refugees who were resettled by the U.S. government. The percentage of the active TB cases triggered concerns among public health experts as the refugee population accounts for less than 1 per cent of the total state’s total population.
A spokesperson for the state health department said, “NH DPHS does not distinguish among categories of foreign-born because our public health interventions are not different; however, based on the most recent CDC surveillance report, only 3 of these 11 foreign-born individuals diagnosed with TB in 2015 were refugees.”
The Granite State’s percentage of foreign-born cases of active TB in 2015 was 19 per cent higher than the national average of 66 per cent. In the year of 1986, the national average of foreign-born TB cases was 22 per cent.
Most individuals infected with the bacteria that cause the highly contagious disease of TB do not have symptoms. But when symptoms do occur, they usually include cough that may be blood-tinged, fever, chills, sweating at night, and fever.